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Talking points preview: City vs Western United

Updated: Dec 5, 2021

Tonight we face off with Western United in the greatest #NotADerby rivalry known to date. With a fantastic historical record against United in their short history, our City boys will be looking to get a massive three points at home to kick our season into gear.


Our third match in eight days, will there be rotation? Any sign of debutants? These are what we need to look out for later this evening. However, this will provide more excitement as we are all aware of how hungry our boys are for minutes.


City celebrate a goal against Western United last season - Andrew Wiseman // @wisemansports

Looking forward to our second home game of the season, here are three focus points going into the match:


Thick and fast fixtures – but who is available?


This is set to be our third match in a quick-fire run of four games in 13 days, with Perth coming up on Wednesday. With such quick turnarounds, we thank our lucky stars that three of those four matches occur in Melbourne. We are also grateful for the extreme pressure our relatively youthful players were put under last finals series, coming home with the goods in the end.


This will surely put any doubts at ease, as we know that our ‘bench’ or ‘NPL’ players can step up and provide quality when needed most. However, we may not need to delve into our reserves too much with Nathaniel Atkinson hopefully being ready after taking a knock, and Maclaren being well rested after missing the midweek Hume City clash.


All things considered, we look to be ready for this Western United blockbuster, with the possibility of a league debut for newcomer Pucciarelli after impressing during the week, setting up Mathew Leckie for his first City goal.


JMac loves the West


Jamie Maclaren. Our favourite striker. After breaking his own league scoring record last season, Maclaren was back on the score sheet last weekend against Adelaide United, with a smart run into the box.


Now, he will be ready for more, especially against a club who he loves to score against so much. Scoring a whopping eight goals across five games, he has only failed to score in one matchup against Western United. This incredible scoring record provides insight into how well our City boys get up in this fixture, and how nervous those from the West should be as Maclaren enters AAMI Park tonight.


City celebrate Jamie Maclaren's first goal of the season - Photo by James Elsby/Getty Images

Everyone is aware of his presence, his stature in the box, the genius of his runs… but can they stop him? An astounding record against United and a current 60 goal haul for our club (according to aleaguestats.com), it still remains to be seen if anyone has his number.


Last week was not enough


We all know Patrick Kisnorbo, and the quality of which he expects from his players. Let’s just face it, last week against Adelaide certainly wasn’t it. From a failure to track Yengi into a shooting position to a dire lack of communication in the backline in the final seconds, we all expect our boys to do better.


Away to Adelaide, there were moments where we should have attempted a more conservative playstyle, but this will not be the case against Western United at home. We will have the crowd advantage; our active support knows how to get the boys up and firing. If there ever was the perfect game to go full throttle and put the boot to the throat, it is this one.


If we know PK, the boys would have had a well-drilled week, pushing themselves and regaining that focus we saw most of last season. We still have that edge, but it has to last the full 90 minutes against any club in this league if we are to pull off a successful title defence.

 

Yes, this season has kicked into gear; matches coming thick and fast, launching our way into the FFA Cup quarter-finals, and, of course, giving up silly goals in the final moments.


Western United will surely pose a strong challenge against us as we try to find our feet, but with a strong lineup looking likely, we should surely fancy our chances.

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